When Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony was hired for the position, the Florida Commission on Ethics established probable cause that he had given false information or omitted facts regarding his prior drug usage and arrest for a juvenile killing.
The panel also found evidence that Tony abused his public position by lying or withholding information when he applied for a job with the Coral Springs Police Department.
The commission discovered that Tony fraudulently claimed on forms he filed to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that he had never had a criminal record sealed or erased, and that he had never had his driving privileges revoked, suspended, or refused.
The group convened on Friday, and on Wednesday, its conclusions were made public. The Florida Commission on Ethics Advocate’s recommendation that there being no probable cause was rejected by the findings.
Tony’s counsel referred to the commission’s conclusion as “unusual” in a statement on Wednesday.
“In its report, the Florida Commission on Ethics Advocate said unequivocally that no violation had taken place and advised the Commission to find no probable cause. It is uncommon for the Commission to dismiss the conclusions and recommendations of its own counsel “The sentence was read. “My client looks forward to a fast determination of innocence,” the attorney said, “even if unhappy with the Commission’s move.”
The Commission on Ethical will carry out its investigation, have an inquiry, determine if Sheriff Tony broke any ethics laws, and then propose punishment to the Governor.
Sheriff Tony has the right to ask for a trial or open hearing where the prosecution presents its case. A Division of Administrative Proceedings administrative law judge often conducts the hearings. Sheriff Tony may also settle the issue via a Commission-approved agreement. Impeachment, expulsion or suspension from office, censure, or a civil fine of up to $10,000 are all possible sanctions.
The matter doesn’t get to our office until all of that is finished, according to Bryan Griffin, the governor’s press secretary.
The terms of the Florida Commission on Ethics are two years. Five members are chosen by the governor. Two senators are chosen by the president of the Senate. Two members are chosen by the Speaker of the House. There must be a balance of Republicans and Democrats in the appointments.
Tony was named sheriff in January 2019 by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who had just recently taken office. Scott Israel, Tony’s predecessor, had been sacked by him for allegedly managing the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy improperly in February 2018. The Florida Senate affirmed this decision.
According to an FDLE study published earlier this year, Tony misled on his police application forms several times, including by omitting the fact that, when he was only 14, he fatally shot another adolescent during a brawl. Despite the fact that Tony was ultimately judged to have acted in self-defense and was cleared, the applications demanded that all arrests be disclosed.
The FDLE said that Tony could not be prosecuted for making false statements since the statute of limitations had passed by the time the comments were made.
Tony served as a police officer with the Coral Springs Police Department from 2005 to 2016, eventually rising to the rank of sergeant. He left his position to lead a consultancy business for police that specialized in active shooter training. The parent of a Stoneman Douglas victim, who knew him through their shared gym experience, recommended DeSantis appoint him. In a few days, the screening process was over.
When asked if he had ever been arrested for a crime in his 2004 application to the police academy and again in 2005 when Coral Springs hired him, Tony allegedly lied by responding “no,” according to the 20-page FDLE investigation. He allegedly lied when he responded “no” to the question “Have you ever damaged or caused the death of another person” on a Coral Springs background check form. and “Have you ever used a weapon in a fight?”
The inquiry discovered that when Tony applied for a position with the Tallahassee Police Department in 2003, his first law enforcement application, he accurately said that he had once taken LSD as a youngster. When asked whether he had ever used or handled hallucinogenic substances on future police applications after that revelation led to his rejection, Tony said “no,” according to investigators.
Tony allegedly frequently answered “no” when asked whether his license had ever been suspended on police and Florida driver’s license applications. His license was revoked in Pennsylvania in 1996 as a result of unpaid traffic fines. The last time that occurred was in 2019, not long after he was elected sheriff, when he sought for a new license.